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I really like how my Dr. Pepper Ribs turned out, so figured to give a try on pulled pork. And let me tell you it did not disappoint! This Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork was tender, juicy and very flavorful. Definitely could pick up some of the soda flavors without overpowering the meat. It was the perfect sweet combo to a very savory piece of meat.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Get the pork ready and on the grill.
This recipe is definitely not a last minute dinner choice. It is a process that needs time and patience for the meat to cook through nice and slowly while containing the tenderness and flavorfulness of the pork as well as the seasoning that’s applied throughout.
For beginners, I recommend going with a bone in pork shoulder. It’s much more forgiving and the bone adds additional flavors to the meat.
I really wanted to infuse the pork with the Dr. Pepper flavor. Instead of brining a big chunk of meat, I injected the soda directly into the shoulder. Use about 1/2 can of Dr. Pepper and make injections in multiple areas.
Next, score the fat cap in a checkered pattern. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate deeper into the meat locking in those amazing BBQ flavors. Coat the entire bone in pork shoulder with yellow mustard which will work as a binder. For the seasoning I used GWD Dad’s All Purpose Rub. It’s the perfect blend of savory and peppery flavors that bring out the sweet and savory notes in pork.
Pat the seasoning down vs. rubbing to avoid any of the spice from falling off. Don’t be shy with the seasoning. The shoulder is a large chunk of meat, so make sure to coat it heavily on all sides. Some of the spice will burn off during the cooking process.
While you wait for the smoker to reach 250 degrees, leave the seasoned pork shoulder in room temperature for about 30 minutes and allow it to sweat which opens up the meat to absorb all those wonderful spices.
Must have grillin seasonings!
Step 2: Phase 1 of smoking a classic pulled pork – direct smoking
Place the seasoned pork shoulder on the grill set up for indirect heat. Leave it on until the internal temp of the protein reaches 170 degrees.
For the first hour, leave the pork on the smoker and let the grill do its magic. After that, spray the pork shoulder with Dr. Pepper every hour. This helps keep the meat moist and prevents the bark from burning. It will also give the bark a delicious sweet taste.
After about 4 -5 hours or when the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees, it’s time to wrap it up.
Step 3: Phase 2 of smoking a classic pulled pork – wrapping
The long smoking process is what makes the meat so tender, that it falls off the bone. In order to keep the moisture and prevent the protein from drying out, you need to wrap it for the final cook.
Once the smoked pork shoulder reaches 170 degrees, place it in an aluminum pan or on a large foil sheet and add brown sugar, cubed butter, 1/2 can of Dr. Pepper and some more seasoning since some of it cooked off. Next, seal it off with a sheet of foil or wrap the foil around the chunk. The wrap will help keep all the moisture inside the cook and allow the butter and sugar to penetrate through the meat and infuse it with all those amazing classic BBQ flavors.
Leave the pork on the grill for another 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees. In addition to the internal temperature, test the tenderness of the meat by doing a probe test which should go into the pork shoulder with easy. Remove the wrapped pork from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour.
Remove the bone and shred the meat, mixing it in with all the rendered juices.
Step 4: How to make the perfect Dr. Pepper sauce.
Homemade BBQ sauce is the way to go. You can always adapt the tanginess, spiciness or sweetness to your liking. This Dr. Pepper pulled pork sauce had a little bit of all the above. It might be my new favorite BBQ sauce. You can definitely taste the various flavor profiles of a Dr. Pepper but it’s not overpowering for those that are not fans of the drink. It’s the perfect flavor compliment to the savory pork. Ingredients are simple and sauce is easy to make.
In a sauce pan, add 1 can of Dr. Pepper soda, ketchup, molasses, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and Dad’s All Purpose seasoning. Mix it all together simmering over low heat until the sauce thickens.
To make the best tasting pulled pork sandwich, scoop a handful off the delicious shredded Dr. Pepper pulled pork onto a brioche bun. Top with the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce and enjoy!
Check out my YouTube video for step by step tutorial.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I prefer to use foil over butcher paper because it helps retain all the moisture which keeps the pork nice and tender. I use a foil pan to fold the shoulder, then wrap the top with a foil sheet.
All my recipes can be replicated in the oven, stove top or gas grill. You do not need a big green egg or weber grill to replicate any of my recipes.
Printer friendly recipe
Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
Pulled Pork Ingredients
- 6 lbs Bone in pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp Yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup Dad's all purpose rub
- 1 1/2 can Dr. Pepper
- 1/2 stick Unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup Brown sugar
Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce Ingredients
- 1 can Dr. Pepper
- 1/2 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup Molasses
- 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tbsp Dad's all purpose seasoning
Pulled Pork Instructions
- Inject 1/2 can of Dr. Pepper into the pork shoulder in multiple parts of the meat.
- Score the fat cap in a checkered pattern.
- Coat the entire pork shoulder with mustard and season with Dad's all purpose rub.
- Set up the grill for indirect heat at 250 degrees.
- After the first hour on the grill, spritz the pork every hour with Dr. Pepper soda.
- Once the internal temperature of the pork reaches 170 degrees, remove the pork off the grill and time to wrap it up.
- Place it in an aluminum pan or on a large foil sheet and add brown sugar, 1/2 can of Dr. Pepper, cubed butter and more seasoning.
- Seal it with a sheet of foil or wrap the foil around the chunk and place it back on the grill until internal temp of the pork shoulder reaches 205 degrees.
- Remove the wrapped pork from the grill and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Remove the bone and shred the meat, mixing it in with all the rendered juices.
Check out the Recipes Page for other tasty ideas!